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Smart city concept – solutions, opportunities and threats

What is the smart city concept?

The concept of smart city, or smart city, involves the use of modern technology in managing the city and providing services to residents. What is a smart city really? This is a vision of the city of the future, where technology is the key to improving the quality of life, enhancing smart city security and efficiency of its operations.
Smart city is based on solutions from the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, big data and information and communication technologies. Thanks to sensors and smart devices, data is collected, which, when analyzed, allows better management of city resources and infrastructure. Dedicated smart city screens and displays are appearing in many places to visualize the collected data and allow interaction with the systems.
The idea of the smart city was born in the 1990s. It was established in the 1970s and initially focused on the use of information and communication technologies. With advances in the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and data analytics, the concept has evolved to integrate various systems and devices in the city.
Nowadays, within the framework of the smart city, a great emphasis is placed on visualization solutions, i.e. screens, monitors, digital boards that present data and enable system control. Modern visualization technologies are becoming a key component of smart cities.

Smart city solutions in practice

Smart city solutions include a variety of technologies and tools to improve the quality of life for residents. But what exactly does that mean? Smart systems are being implemented in smart cities, among others. In the areas of transportation, energy, security and health care. Examples include city monitoring, air quality sensors, intelligent traffic and lighting control, or remote reading of utility meters. It is also the use of modern screens, monitors and boards in areas such as transportation, security, administration or infrastructure.
Other areas include smart buildings with automatic regulation of energy consumption, electronic administration and e-services for residents, or selective waste collection. Smart city solutions contribute to the efficiency, safety and convenience of residents’ lives.

  • Intelligent transportation systems – adaptive traffic signal control, electronic ticketing, shared mobility (e.g., bicycle rentals), real-time traffic information.
  • Energy efficiency – smart meters and automatic optimization of energy consumption, smart grid, sensor-controlled LED lighting.
  • Security – video surveillance in public spaces, sensors to detect threats (e.g., fire, flood), smart solutions in emergency services.
  • Waste management – sensors that monitor the level of filling of containers, automatic waste segregation systems.
  • E-government – electronic services for residents, smart systems for handling and reminding utility fees, etc.
  • Healthcare – telemedicine, IoT in patient monitoring, medication and appointment reminders.
  • Smart home – smart homes and apartments that integrate various devices and make management easier.

The smart city uses displays in many areas:

  • Transportation – LED screens and boards at bus stops, stations, airports; on public transportation vehicles. They allow to inform passengers about schedules, delays, breakdowns.
  • Security – CCTV monitors; digital message boards; displays in emergency services to improve emergency response and coordination of operations.
  • Administration – Offices are being equipped with digital queuing systems, info kiosks with touch screens, and information boards to facilitate service to residents.
  • Infrastructure – displays and touch panels in the control of lighting, water and sewage systems, energy management. They allow you to control the operation of the systems.
  • Advertising – digital billboards, LED screens, including interactive screens, using, among other things. Gesture and motion recognition technology.

Modern screens and digital media are becoming an integral part of urban space. They help improve city operations and inform and engage residents through interactive capabilities.

Types of displays used in the smart city:

  • LCD monitors – versatile, low power consumption, wide viewing angles. Used in monitoring centers, vehicles, offices.
  • LED screens – high brightness, durability, outdoor visibility. Used in public transportation, billboards.
  • E-paper (EPD) – low power consumption, no flicker, sunlight readability. Information boards, timetables.
  • Projectors – flexibility, large formats. Digital mappings on buildings, holograms, 3D projections.
  • Touch panels – interactivity. Information kiosks, lighting control or multimedia in public spaces.

Smart city – opportunities and threats

The smart city concept carries many potential benefits, but also some risks. Opportunities include a better quality of life for residents, more sustainable management of resources, greater transparency in government operations, cost savings, and increased innovation and competitiveness in the city.
However, there are also some smart city risks concerning, among other things. data security and citizens’ privacy, dependence on technology and vulnerability to cyberattacks, or widening social inequality. To minimize risks, solutions must be responsibly designed and implemented with smart city security in mind.

The benefits of applying the smart city concept are:

  • Convenience and improved quality of life for residents through access to modern services.
  • Optimization of resource consumption – energy, water, fuels. Infrastructure maintenance cost savings.
  • Less pollution through sustainable solutions.
  • Greater public safety through monitoring and rapid service response.
  • Development of a modern economy based on technology and innovation.
  • Transparency in city management and greater access to data for residents.

In contrast, potential threats and challenges are:

  • Cyber security – the risk of intrusions into infrastructure monitoring and control systems.
  • Privacy – collecting data on residents and their activities can raise concerns.
  • Failurability – dependence on technology carries the risk of paralysis if it becomes unreliable.
  • The high cost of implementing and maintaining smart solutions.
  • Inequalities – the risk of deepening divisions through limited access to new technologies.
  • Public acceptance – concerns about change and job protection.

Smart city risks should be minimized from the design stage of a solution.

Examples of smart cities in Poland and around the world

An example of a Polish smart city is Gdansk, which has implemented, among other things. Tri-City Intelligent Agglomeration Transportation System (Tristar), an intelligent lighting management system, the Mevo urban bicycle rental project, or a platform for voting and consultation with residents. Advanced are Barcelona, Singapore and Seoul, where integrated solutions cover the entire spectrum of urban infrastructure.

Globally, the smart city market is expected to exceed $2 trillion by 2025. The development of smart cities is therefore a trend that will continue. However, it is crucial that the implementation of new technologies serves to improve the quality of life for residents while maintaining security and respecting privacy.

In Poland, in addition to the aforementioned Gdansk, examples of cities implementing smart city solutions include:

  • Warsaw – ITS system serving public transportation and traffic, car sharing, WiFi hotspots, mobile application.
  • Wroclaw – smart lighting system, problem reporting platform, city bike rental.
  • Krakow – mobile air monitoring system, Solaris Equinox smart bus stops, Electronic City Card.
  • Rzeszow – “Smart City Rzeszow” project. – Smart solutions in transportation, energy and administration.

Global examples of advanced smart cities include cities such as Singapore, Barcelona, Seoul, Stockholm and Amsterdam. They implement integrated smart solutions in areas such as transportation, energy, telecommunications, e-services, and environmental protection. They set trends and directions for the concept of cities of the future.

In summary, a smart city is the idea of a city using information and communication technologies to enhance the quality of life of residents and sustainable development. It has both opportunities and threats that must be responsibly addressed. Examples from Poland and the world show that this is a development trend with great potential.


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